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Here, experts and job seekers weigh in on what they consider to be the best moonlighting gigs. The suggestions run the gamut from child care to cosmetic procedures, but all provide a means for pulling in some extra income.
1. Second job: bartender
Details: "I am an attorney who moonlights as a bartender," says Brianna Sadler, partner at a law firm in Minnesota. "It's actually a great way to meet future clients without violating the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, as I am able to have a personal relationship with the guests/clients and help fulfill both their need for a drink and possibly legal advice. As I am a plaintiff's attorney, it's also a great way to pay my rent until I have my 'one big case' we all dream about."
Potential pay: Bartenders earn a mean hourly wage of $10.25, according to the BLS.
2. Second job: freelancer
Details: "I recently started my own consulting business in August, and while I was getting that up and running, I was actively seeking freelance writing work," says Sophia Habl Mitchell, principal at Sophia Mitchell & Associates. "Taking small gigs through freelance sites ... can be a great way to supplement income. The best part is that this work can be done at home, before or after a 'regular job.'"
Potential pay: While pay varies based on the type of freelance assignment, Mitchell says she earned $3,000 in four months by doing a variety of freelance work, including writing for a travel website and ghostwriting blog content.
3. Second job: cosmetic laser technician
Details: "Cosmetic laser technician is a career some people do part time while holding down another full-time job," says Louis Silberman, president of National Laser Institute. "Cosmetic laser technicians work mostly in med spas and doctors' offices as independent contractors. They perform procedures like laser hair removal and laser skin resurfacing. Some RNs have received their laser certification to increase their earning potential by performing cosmetic procedures."
Potential pay: According to the NLI, the most common scenario is a blend of an hourly rate plus commission. The hourly rates usually range from $15 to $25, in addition to a commission ranging from 3 to 20 percent. At med spas, technicians typically receive a gratuity.
4. Second job: child-care provider
Details: My husband and I have two small children, and we juggle going back and forth to the office and staying home with the kids," says Brina Bujkovsky, owner and CEO of The Younique Boutique. "We decided to start a home day care to take advantage of the tax deductions, earn extra income ... and provide playmates for our kids. We are helping the community by providing affordable care for children six weeks and up, and we are earning a nice second income."
Potential pay: Bujkovsky says she makes more than $2,500 a month through her home day-care gig.
5. Second job: Futures trader
Details: A recent survey conducted by TopStepTrader, an international scouting agency that recruits and trains futures traders, found that more than half of the workers surveyed conduct futures trading as a second job. "With the markets open 23-24 hours a day, there is a lot of flexibility and profitability in this career as a second alternative job," says Michael Patak, president and CEO of TopStepTrader.
Potential pay: According to TopStepTrader, part-time traders who trade lightly can earn an estimated $2,000 a month, while active part-time traders can average up to around $4,000 a month.
6. Second job: Container/organization sales consultant
Details: If you're outgoing and like organization, consider being a sales consultant for a container company. In this role, you'll help plan or host fun parties -- often held at people's homes -- where guests will have the opportunity to try out and buy your products. Some companies now offer e-commerce options, too.
Potential pay: Earning potential can vary based on company and role. Lee Padgett of Clever Container says their starting consultants make 20 percent on their retail sales, and after they reach $1,000 worth of product sales, they make 25 percent on their retail sales.
7. Second job: mystery shopper
Details: Bethany Mooradian, author of "The Mystery Shopper Training Program," suggests mystery shopping as a great way to earn extra cash. "To be a successful mystery shopper, a person needs to be reliable [and] honest, have basic Internet skills, decent writing, spelling and observation skills and live in a fairly metropolitan area," Mooradian says. "Any time I've needed money, I just jump right back into mystery shopping ... It's perfect for anyone who wants a flexible way of earning extra income, has basic skills and doesn't want to stay trapped behind a desk."
Potential pay: Mystery shoppers can make up to $38,520 in annual salary, according to CBSalary.com.
Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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